Shippensburg wins Atlantic Regional with two victories against Seton Hill
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Shippensburg, seeded fourth in the Atlantic Region, posted 10-3 and 3-2 victories against No. 3 seed Seton Hill to claim the 2013 NCAA Atlantic Region Baseball Championship and advance to the Division II Championship for the first time since 2008.
The Raiders won four consecutive elimination games and subsequent defeats of the region’s No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in the process.
Senior catcher Tyler Shover was named the 2013 Atlantic Region Tournament MVP after going 10-for-20 in the series with two home runs, two doubles and six runs while throwing out 4-of-7 base runners in five games.
Junior Pat Kregeloh earned his ninth pitching victory in Game 1 and launched his ninth home run in Game 2. Pitching on two days rest in the opener, Kregeloh allowed three runs in the first inning but responded with six shutout frames after that — throwing 124 pitches in seven solid innings of work. In Game 2, and SU trailing 2-0 in the sixth, Kregeloh launched a round tripper over the left-center field fence that proved to be the difference.
“I’m really not sure it’s happening right now,” head coach Matt Jones admitted after the game. “I feel like I’m going to wake up in about 20 minutes and have to cut the grass or something. But I’m pretty sure it’s for real. We can’t wait to get on the bus, enjoy the ride back, and get to go practice on Tuesday.”
SU fell behind 3-0 in the opening game and then reeled off a string of 12 consecutive scoreless innings against Seton Hill. The Griffins entered the tournament ranked No. 8 in the country in batting average (.342) but were limited by Raider pitching to a .215 clip (20-for-93) in three tournament meetings.
“They scored three runs in the top of the first inning, and I really, really feel that the tone for the day was set when we scored three right back at them,” Jones said. “That’s when this day started to go this way. If we don’t answer, it very easily could’ve gone the other way because Seton Hill is a really good team and very well coached. We had to play really good to beat that team.”
The Raiders took the lead in Game 1 when Shover crushed a solo home run in the bottom of the third inning after throwing out All-Tournament selection Pat McCarthy trying to steal in the top of the frame. SU added four more in the fifth, benefiting from an error and four wild pitches in the frame, and two more on the seventh.
Sophomore Nick Massetti gutted through 4.2 sturdy innings of work in Game 2, working out of several jams but ultimately getting chased in the fifth after a two-run single with two outs by Josh Forbes. Junior Austin Bartley entered in relief and ended up with the win after a phenomenal relief performance in which he allowed just two hits in 4.1 innings of work.
Bartley, who set a SU single-season school record Sunday with his 24th appearance, threw seven shutout innings of relief over the course of three games in the tournament -- allowing just three hits without a walk while striking out four and earning a victory and two saves in the process.
Freshman shortstop Mike Marcinko had a spirited run in the tournament and was also named to the All-Tournament team -- he went 5-for-15 in five games. Marcinko had two RBIs Sunday but was most noteworthy for his glove work, including a marvelous effort on a 1-6-2-5 double play that helped SU escape a major jam in the seventh inning of Game 2.